Thursday, November 05, 2009

Immaculate Conception: Eastern Witnesses

Still to come: explanation of seemingly Maculist passages.

1st Century
Patriarch St. Mark I the Apostle of Alexandria (Bryant 69) before 60 [Liturgy of St. Mark the Evangelist], "Most holy, immaculate, and blessed Mother of God, and ever Virgin Mary." Latin: "Sanctissima, immaculata, et benedicta, Deipara et semper virgine Maria."

Bishop St. James the Just Apostle of Jerusalem (Bryant 68-69) before 60 [Liturgy of St. James], "Most holy, most glorious, immaculate, Mother of God and ever Virgin," and Mary is "in every respect out of the range of sinful men."
Editor: The holy St. James, brother of the Lord, taught that Mary was not a sinner, i.e., she never contracted original sin or committed venial or mortal sin.

St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle in 62 [Acts of Andrew]: "And therefore, because the first man was created of immaculate earth, it was necessary that of an immaculate Virgin should be born a perfect man, that the Son of God should restore that eternal life which men had lost." Latin: "Et propterea, quod ex immaculatâ terrâ ereatus fuerat primus homo, necesse erat ut ex immaculatâ Virgine nasceretur perfectus homo, quo Filius Dei, qui antè condiderat hominem, vitam æternam quam perdiderant hominess, repararet."
Editor: The earth from which Adam was created had always been immaculate, and so the Blessed Virgin was always immaculate, or else we would make the glorious and all-praised St. Andrew guilty of a false analogy.

2nd Century

3rd Century

4th Century

5th Century
Bishop St. Theodotus of Ancyra [Homily 6:11 on the Holy Mother of God in PG 77:1427A],
In the place of Eve, an instrument of death, is chosen a Virgin, most pleasing to God and full of His grace, as an instrument of life. A Virgin included in woman's sex, but without a share in woman's fault. A Virgin innocent; immaculate; free from all guilt; spotless; undefiled; holy in spirit and body; a lily among thorns.
Archbishop St. Proclus of Constantinople before 466 [Homily 1:3 in PG 65:683B]: "As He formed her without any stain of her own, so He proceeded from her contracting no stain."
Editor: Mary was formed without stain, meaning that she had no stain at the moment of her formation, meaning that she never contracted original sin.

6th Century
Patriarch St. Anastasius I the Sinaite of Antioch before 598 [Oration 3:6 on the Incarnation in PG 89:1338].

7th Century
Patriarch St. Sophronius of Jerusalem [Oration 2:25 on the Annunciation to the Holy Mother of God in PG 87:3248A]: "Many saints appeared before thee, but none was as filled with grace as thou… No one has been purified in advance as thou hast been… Thou dost surpass all that is most excellent in man, as well as all the gifts which have been bestowed by God upon all others."

8th Century
St. Andrew of Crete [Homily 1 on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in PG 97:809D-812]:
Today, Adam presents Mary to God as the first fruits of our nature… Today, humanity recovers the gift it had received when first formed by divine hands, and returns immaculate to its original nobility. The shame of sin had cast a shadow upon the splendor and charm of human nature; but when the Mother of Him Who is Beauty itself is born, this nature recovers in her person its ancient privileges, and is fashioned according to a perfect model, truly worthy of God. And this fashioning is a perfect restoration; this restoration is a divinization, and this divinization is an assimilation to the primitive state… In a word, the reformation of our nature begins today; the world, which had grown old, undergoes a transformation which is wholly divine, and receives the first fruits of its second creation.
Patriarch St. Germanus I of Constantinople [Homily 1 on the Presentation of the Holy Mother of God in PG 98:300D]: "Accept her whom you have chosen, predestined, and sanctified, … her whom you have chosen as a lily among the thorns of our unworthiness."

Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (Doctor) [Homily on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in PG 96:664AB]:
Nature was defeated by grace and stopped, trembling, not daring to take precedence over it [grace]. Since the Virgin Mother of God was to be born of Anne, nature did not dare to precede the product of grace; but remained sterile until grace had produced its fruit. O happy loins of Joachim, which had produced a germ which is all immaculate. O wondrous womb of Anne in which an all-holy child slowly grew and took shape!
Editor: Mary was spotless as a zygote and was infused with grace before she could receive the wounds of nature; meaning she had no original sin at the moment of her conception.

9th Century
Abbot St. Theodore of Studion [On the Nativity of the Blessed Mary 4 in PG 96:685A]:
Mary is the earth on which the thorns of sin did not grow. On the contrary, she brought forth a plant through which sin has been uprooted and taken away. She is an earth which was not cursed as was the first earth, fertile in thorns and thistles, but was blessed by the Lord; and her fruit is also blessed, as says the word of the Lord.
The same great saint adds [On the Nativity of the Blessed Mary 4 in PG 96:685D]: "She is the new dough that has been remade by God, the holy first-fruits of the human race, the root of that stem spoken of by the prophet."

Patriarch St. Photius the Great of Constantinople [Homily 2 On the Annunciation]: "Mayest thou rejoice, furnace forged by God, in which the Creator, having leavened anew our nature with the most pure and virginal dough, has cleansed us of that sour and distressing staleness, renovating man into a new creature."
10th Century
Patriarch St. Euthymius I Syncellus of Constantinople before 917 [PO 16:501-502].

11th Century
Archbishop Theophylact of Ohrid [On the Presentation of the Blessed Mary 6 in PG 126:137A]: "She who surpassed all nature in purity and holiness, and who was justified from her mother's womb, had to be exempt from a law made not for the just but for sinners."
12th Century

13th Century
Neophyte the Recluse of Cyprus before 1214 [Homily on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary 3 in PO 16:530,534].

14th Century
Archbishop St. Gregory Palamas of Thessalonica [Homily 14 on the Annunciation in PG 151:172A-C]: "Mary escaped the malediction of Eve. Free from the old servitude, she became the source of deliverance of men from it."
Nicholas Cabasilas [Homily on the Annunciation 3 in PO 19:486]:
The wall of separation, the barrier of enmity, did not exist for her, and everything which kept the human race away from God was removed in her. She alone made her peace [with God] before the general reconciliation; or rather she never needed reconciliation of any sort, because from the beginning she occupied the first place in the choir of the friends [of God].
The same writer, whom the Orthodox venerate as a saint, adds [Homily on the Dormition of the Blessed Mary 4 in PO 19:498]: "Earth she is, because she is from the earth; but she is a new earth, since she derives in no way from her ancestors and has not inherited the old leaven. She is … a new dough and has originated a new race."

15th Century
Archbishop Symeon of Thessalonica before 1429 [Response to Gabriel of Pentapolis 45 in PG 155:892C].

16th Century

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